2007-2008 Annual Report to the University Senate

Committee on Academic Planning and Resource Allocation

COMMITTEE CHARGE:  This Committee shall review budgetary procedures and priorities for planning and resource allocation in the Presidential, Provostial, and Vice-Presidential areas. It shall be consulted by the University Administration on these matters and on proposals for new colleges, schools, and inter-collegiate programs, and it shall seek advice from other University Senate committees whenever appropriate.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:  Joseph Antonelli, Paul Bingham, Alan Calder, Kane Gillespie, Bill Godfrey (co-chair), Norman Goodman (co-chair), Joan Kuchner, Mary LaCorte, Susan Lieberthal, Hugh Silverman (on leave), Thomas Smalling (left the university in May), Irene Solomon, Alan Tucker, Larry Wittie, Jane Yahil.  Eric Kaler and Dan Melucci served as resources.

ACTIVITIES:  The bulk of the work of the committee was carried out through four subcommittees, each of which focused on a specific issue:  the Southampton campus; the funding and problems associated with M.A. programs; the viability of the College of Business; and the Table of Organization and Reporting Structures for the various administrative offices.

            The Subcommittees

The Southampton subcommittee, chaired by Bill Godfrey, reviewed the budgetary arrangements for Southampton and their connection to the general budget for Stony Brook. While the budget for Southampton is included in the overall budgetary allocation to Stony Brook it is segregated on the campus from the general campus budget.  The subcommittee specifically examined the separate budget allocation of $100,300 to the Southampton library with respect to the following issues: the need for a separate budget for e-journals ($39,000) and databases ($3,000), which should be accessible electronically from the Stony Brook campus; whether the budget for books duplicated or extended the collection of books on the Stony Brook campus; and whether these allocations were in addition to or subtracted from the library budget of the Stony Brook campus. At this point, it is not clear whether or not these separate budget allocations are an unnecessary duplication.  This is an issue that will be followed up next year.

Bill Godfrey and Norman Goodman participated in the initial meeting of a committee chaired by Mark Aronoff from the Office of the Provost to advise Dean Martin Schoonen on a governance structure for the Southampton campus. This committee has not met since the first two preliminary meetings.

The Table of Organization and Reporting Structures subcommittee was chaired by Kane Gillespie.  It secured for CAPRA the Tables of Organization available for the President’s Cabinet, the Office of the Provost (including deans, directors, research institutes and centers), the School of Medicine (including its Office of Academic Affairs), and the Stony Brook University Medical Center.  It met with Dan Melucci to try to identify the budget allocations to the different offices defined in these Tables of Organization and was informed that these can be found in the “Grey Book” (the Operating Budget, 2007-2008).  However, it seems impossible to actually track expenditures compared with allocations, especially those from one administrative budget to another.  The subcommittee will continue to pursue this issue. 

The M.A. Programs subcommittee was chaired by Irene Solomon.  The subcommittee examined the number and types of masters programs on campus, the process by which they are approved, and how these programs are funded.  To carry out its responsibilities, the subcommittee met with various relevant administrators.  It identified 40 stand-alone masters’ degree programs and 9 combined bachelors/masters degree (4+1 year) programs.  All new programs require approval on campus of the Graduate Council, then that of SUNY System Administration, and, finally, of the State Education Department (SED).  SUNY provides campuses with a set of Guidelines for Submission of Graduate Academic Program Proposals, which incorporate the SED requirements.  Dean Lawrence Martin believes that Stony Brook would benefit by an increase in the number of masters programs it offers and by the expansion of some of its existing programs.  Specifically, he expects that Stony Brook will increase its student enrollment in masters program by about 1,000, half of whom would be pursuing studies leading to an MBA in the College of Business.  Dean Martin was especially interested in expanding the number of combined (4+1 year) masters programs. 

The subcommittee believes that campus would benefit from an expansion of both types of masters programs, but points out that these programs need to have the financial resources and teaching facilities that are necessary for them to be successful.  In particular, it cautions that enrollments in individual programs should not exceed the capabilities of the department’s teaching staff and the availability of appropriate teaching space.

The College of Business subcommittee was chaired by Mary LaCorte.  The subcommittee noted that the College currently has 864 undergraduate majors and 206 MBA students, with 15 full-time faculty (7 of whom are tenured and one is on a tenure-track line), 7 Lecturers, and 25 adjuncts.  The dean believes that the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty is too low to receive accreditation and he would need to hire an additional 12 full-time Ph.D. research-oriented faculty to be eligible for accreditation, which is necessary to facilitate the recruitment of the College’s students for good jobs in industry.  The members of CAPRA believe that the College would need to add considerably more than the 12 full-time faculty proposed by the dean to be a serious contender for accreditation.  However, it didn’t see how that was an achievable goal in the near future, especially in the current financial situation of New York State.

Administratively, the College is aligned for governance purposes with the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and uses its committees for curriculum and  promotion and tenure review.  The College is allocated its resources directly from the provost, which the dean believes are not currently sufficient.

            The Campus Budget Presentations

Every year, a member of CAPRA represents the committee at the campus budget hearings in which each vice president requests a specific budget and provides a justification for that request.  This year, the process took a different form.  It was organized around the 12 goals of the “Campus Five Year Plan.”  Each goal had numerous tasks needed to accomplish the goal and a series of specific action plans to do so (which included the necessary resources and the identification of the responsible office/administrator for carrying it out). Members of CAPRA represented the committee at these presentations based upon their interest in the goal under consideration.  The CAPRA representatives were afforded full access to all the material provided to those participating in these presentations.  Though there was a significant amount of relevant data available, this new process appeared to be too rushed, particularly as a consequence of evolving budgetary crisis facing SUNY, to allow sufficient discussion and analysis necessary to use this format to contribute to an evaluation of the requests and to help establish funding priorities.  However, it should be recalled that this new format is “a work in progress” and will need to be refined through experience.   

            The Deactivation of 388 Courses in the College of Arts and Sciences

CAPRA met with Provost Eric Kaler to discuss the deactivation of 388 courses in the College of Arts and Sciences and the budgetary problems that led to that action.  As they say in diplomatic circles, there was a “full and frank discussion of the issue.”  The provost made it clear that the deactivation of the courses was necessitated by insufficient budgetary resources to fund the “Supplemental Instructional Budget” that funds courses taught by instructors who are not on multi-semester contracts.  He also pointed out that he and Dean Staros had consulted with department chairs in CAS and were working to restore those courses, which in fact they did with the exception of 11 courses.  The problem is apparently caused by a continual underfunding of the College of Arts and Sciences with a resultant ongoing budget deficit.  The provost indicated that he will be working to find solutions to this problem, and he enlisted CAPRA’s support in this effort.

General Discussion of the Campus Budget

CAPRA met with Provost Kaler to discuss the concerns expressed by a number of faculty on campus as to how the campus budget is allocated once it is received from SUNY, especially with respect to the budgetary problems of the College of Arts and Sciences noted above as well as the current budget crisis in Albany.  The upshot of the meeting was agreement that greater transparency in the campus budgetary process would be useful in allaying some of the anxiety about the how resources are allocated  on campus.  Such transparency would, among other things, make clear the separation and lack of fungibility of the “operating” and “capital” budgets. The involvement of the CAPRA  in the campus budget presentations, the inclusion of the Executive Committee of the University Senate and the presidents of the two UUP chapters on campus in the current budget crisis emanating from Albany, and the Town Hall meeting on the budget crisis were seen as positive steps leading to greater transparency in the campus budgetary process.  However, the members of CAPRA expressed their view that the budget allocated to the academic sector, which is the main justification for having a university, was less than it should be.  They believe that campus budget allocations (increases or reductions) should not be administered equally across the board to all sectors of the campus, but should reflect the priority of the academic sector to the campus mission.

            The Allocation of Academic Space

During this year, the administration has been carrying out a “space survey” to identify the use of  space on the campus.  CAPRA discussed with Provost Kaler its role in the decision-making process of allocating academic space on the campus once that space survey is completed.  Provost Kaler welcomed CAPRA’s role in that process and promised to forward the results of the space survey once it is completed.